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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Kids Urged To Unplug For ‘Screen Free Week’

"The modern toddler iPad experience" (Wayan Vota/Flickr)

“The modern toddler iPad experience” (Wayan Vota/Flickr)

Back away from your electronic device — that’s the message from the non-profit Campaign For A Commercial-Free Childhood, which has declared this Screen-Free Week.

Susan Linn, co-founder and director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, at Here & Now studios at WBUR in Boston. (Jesse Costa/Here and Now)

Susan Linn of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, at Here & Now studios in Boston. (Jesse Costa/Here and Now)

Susan Linn, director of organization, wants parents and children to turn off devices because, she says, children are exposed to too much screen media at an early age.

“On any given day, 64 percent of babies between 12 months and two years [are] watching TV and video for an average of over two hours per day,” Linn told Here & Now‘s Robin Young. “The screens and the rapidly moving images trigger little squirts of Dopamine, which is associated with pleasure [and it is] kind of mirroring what happens with addictive drugs.”

The organization is calling on people to instead “think, read, play, daydream, explore nature, enjoy family and friends.”

‘Doug Unplugged’


Children’s author Dan Yaccarino has touched on the theme of screen-free time in his book “Doug Unplugged.”

It’s about a robot named Doug who unplugs himself from his daily download of information to go out an explore the world.

During his unplugged day, Doug makes new friends, learns how to play hide-and-seek and hugs his parents.

“My book is really advocating a balance,” Yaccarino said. “The character gains a small amount of information, bytes of information, that he then uses when he goes out into the world where he completes his learning.”

Have you ever ditched your digital devices for a span of time? How did it go? Let us know on Facebook or in the comments.


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  • F_barrios

    We need more people like your guest Susan Linn today.  Thanks you for having her on your show.

  • Goldmonkeybar

    My grandmother used to bug me about spending all my time as a child indoors, alone, staring at this rectangular device that she said was unhealthy as compared with playing outside in the fresh air.  That rectangular device?  Was a book.

    There is nothing new under the sun.

    Except to “news” commentators.   ;-)

  • Bewildered

    The statistics of childhood media consumption were mildly disturbing. That researchers subject children to MRIs for the purpose of studying this consumption - that is a shame. 

  • Susan J

    I have to disagree with much of what was said here. It has less to do with ‘screen time’ than parent time, or lack there of. Using the tube as a baby sitter is wrong and should stop. Using it for entertainment at any age is not wrong. There is nothing wrong with a child watching sesame street with a parent. Even at 2. 

    I am 57, grew up in a house where the TV was on 18 hours a day. I did homework in front of the TV, graduated from high school at 16 and college 3 years later. But that TV was never a baby sitter and I can leave it and rarely watch it today. ]

    Too many of today’d children, it is the only stimulation they get. So of course they love it, because to them it loves them. 

    My daughter had a computer at 3. Yes, it helps her learn how to be a part of the technological world of today. She’s an expert at it. 

    I love to read and if I had a child today, I would never give them a book. It has been about 4+ years since I have bought one. And I read all the time. Paper comes from trees, a resource we cannot afford to share.

    I’m digressing, though.

    The issue here is parenting. Not media. Some day some one will get it straight. 

  • arner_0

    I find it laughable that I am watching & listening to this program on a PC.

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